Putting people, not power, first

A chara,

It was with a mixture of mirth,bewilderment and dismay that I read the article ‘SF plan to outpoll SDLP in Derry election’(08/03/11).

The article was written around speeches by two senior SF MLAs, Raymond McCartney and Mitchell McLaughlin - ironically, two men who have planned to, expected to and failed to outpoll the SDLP in Derry before -at the launch of the Sinn Fein election team.

It is always encouraging to see new faces enter the fray of representative politics no matter, what party they are affiliated to, and I wish the new candidates luck, if not success, in their endeavours to get elected and beyond.

However, I’m sure that it must have come as something of a disappointment to them to discover that Sinn Fein’s main objective for success in this election is to outpoll the SDLP and ,in so doing, secure Derry’s status as a ‘Republican city’.

The SDLP will launch our own team in the coming days. It has a good blend of experience and youth and everyone in it has the objective of ensuring that Derry is a prosperous, vibrant, safe and clean city for all who live here.

This encapsulates a fundamental difference between the SDLP and Sinn Fein, a difference that has been blatantly exposed over the draconian budget that they and their DUP bedfellows are imposing on the people of the North: SF put politics and power before people. The SDLP put people first.

That is why Derry votes SDLP first.

Is mise le meas,

Mark H Durkan